Derrick Rose Was Called a ‘Superhero’ by LeBron James After Accomplishing Feat No One Could Have Predicted

LeBron James and Derrick Rose were rivals from 2008-09 to 2016-17. The former played for the Cleveland Cavaliers and Miami Heat during that stretch and knocked out the latter four times in the playoffs.

That’s why it was awkward for Rose to be teammates with LeBron briefly in 2017-18 on the Cavaliers. Even though the two MVPs had respect for each other, it was strange for Rose to share a locker room with LeBron since the King was his arch-nemesis for so many years.

The LeBron-Rose pairing only lasted 16 games, though. The Cavaliers traded the Chicago native to the Utah Jazz at the 2018 trade deadline, and the Jazz waived him since he had a tumultuous short tenure in Cleveland. Many pundits thought Rose’s NBA career was over since no team immediately signed him after getting released by the Jazz.

However, that was far from the truth.

Derrick Rose signed with Timberwolves

Rose was an unrestricted free agent for nearly a month after getting waived by the Jazz before signing with the Minnesota Timberwolves in March 2018. Tom Thibodeau was the Timberwolves’ president and head coach, and he signed Rose since the two worked together on the Chicago Bulls from 2010-11 to 2014-15.

Rose didn’t exactly light it up for the Timberwolves in the nine games he appeared in to close out the 2017-18 season. He averaged 5.8 points and 1.2 assists in 12.4 minutes per contest. However, the Memphis product was productive in the 2018 playoffs, averaging 14.2 points and 2.6 assists while shooting 50.9% from the field and 70.0% from beyond the arc in five games versus the Houston Rockets.

The Timberwolves were impressed by Rose’s play in the playoffs and re-signed him during the 2018 free agency period, which allowed him to rejuvenate his career in 2018-19 and have a memorable night on Halloween that drew an inspiring response from LeBron.

LeBron James called Derrick Rose a “superhero” after his career-night

The Timberwolves were without Jimmy Butler, Jeff Teague, and Tyus Jones on October 31, 2018. As a result, Thibodeau had to start Rose and play him 40 minutes against the Jazz. What happened that night at the Target Center was something no NBA expert could have predicted.

Since becoming the youngest MVP in NBA history in 2011, Rose has undergone four knee surgeries. He’s no longer a superstar, but he turned back the clock and then some versus the Jazz by scoring a career-high 50 points. The three-time All-Star shot 19-of-31 from the floor, 4-of-7 from beyond the arc, and 8-of-11 from the free-throw line and recorded the game-winning block on Dante Exum at the buzzer.

LeBron and the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Dallas Mavericks on the same night of Rose’s 50-point game. During his postgame media session with reporters, LBJ spoke about Rose’s career night and called the guard a “superhero” for overcoming all the adversity he went through.

“What Derrick Rose did tonight — I don’t know if lot of ya’ll ever got an opportunity to hang with the guy — what he gives his mind and his body just to play one game is something that I watched being his teammate for the time that we were in Cleveland together, and you talk about perseverance, that’s the true definition of it,” LeBron said. “You talk about a guy — I think he’s the youngest MVP to ever play in this game — and to have the battles and battles with his injuries, to be able to come back, and no matter what everybody else was talking about because the majority is always people who never stepped into the arena has so many things to say bad about him and what he should do, and he should do this and do that, for him to set a career-high tonight in a win in Minnesota, I think that’s unbelievable.

“I think every kid that — you don’t have to play sports — any kid that’s going through anything in life about adversity and triumph and trying to just get over the hump, you can look at that performance by Derrick Rose tonight, and that’s why our game is so unbelievable because even when a superhero is knocked down, he’s still a superhero at the end of the day and Derrick Rose showed why he’s still a superhero.”

That was a classy speech by LeBron about a player he has high admiration for. The Akron Hammer and Rose have a few things in common, so the former can relate to the latter despite never having surgery. Both LeBron and Rose were drafted No. 1 overall by their hometown team and won Rookie of the Year and MVP.

Rose averaged 18.0 points and 4.3 assists for the Timberwolves in 2018-19 and 18.1 points and 5.6 assists for the Detroit Pistons in 2019-20. He was so effective for the Pistons that LeBron and the Lakers were interested in acquiring him at the 2020 trade deadline.

LeBron James and Lakers explored trade for Windy City Assassin in 2020

The Lakers, Philadelphia 76ers, and multiple teams with championship aspirations expressed interest in trading for Rose in 2020, per Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. However, Detroit kept Rose since the veteran was “happy with the Pistons” and wasn’t looking to be traded.

LeBron and the Lakers won the 2020 championship over the Miami Heat in six games at the Walt Disney World bubble. There were rumors about Rose landing in Los Angeles during the summer of 2020, but he remained in Detroit until the Pistons sent him to the New York Knicks on February 8, 2021.

Rose certainly appreciated LeBron’s “superhero” comments from 2018 despite the two stars not teaming up again. In fact, LeBron’s quote was featured in Rose’s documentary and autobiography.

Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference

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